Calling the health and safety of the public its “top priority,” the City of Vancouver said it is continuing to work with internal and external partners, including Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH), on a “proactive approach” to deal with COVID-19.
In a release, the city noted that “VCH and the BC Centre for Disease Control has said the risk of transmission in Vancouver remains low.”
Still, the city said it will adjust its “response based upon updated advice from public health officials.”
In the meantime, and “out of an abundance of caution,” the city said it is “increasing cleaning protocols at our facilities,” as well as distributing signage and directing members of the public and staff to stay home if they are feeling sick.
“We have a rigorous planning process in place for multiple scenarios, including a pandemic,” said City Manager Sadhu Johnston. “We have been ramping up our plans over the past few weeks in anticipation of the spread [of coronavirus].”
And while numerous events in and around the city have already been cancelled, Johnston said the city is “not restricting public events at our facilities or in the community.”
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He continued, “We are constantly in touch with provincial and local health authorities, monitoring the situation, and preparing to take further actions if we need to.”
Johnston added that “senior leaders are meeting regularly to address issues as they arise and make decisions that are best for our teams and the community. Under the leadership of the Vancouver Emergency Management Agency (VEMA), we have also activated the Emergency Operations Centre.”
On Twitter, Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart urged people to “come together & look out for one another.”
The most important thing is to listen to our excellent local public health officials, keep an eye on your loved ones & stay calm.
Now is the time for us to come together & look out for one another.
— Kennedy Stewart (@kennedystewart) March 12, 2020
The city has also put forth a list of actions it is taking to fight the spread of the virus. These actions include the following:
- Increasing cleaning protocols at all City of Vancouver, Vancouver Park Board, and Vancouver Public Library facilities
- Posting signage at all facilities reminding members of the public and staff to stay away if they are feeling sick
- Activating the City Business Continuity plans to ensure we can maintain our core City services, such as water, sewers, police and fire
- Ensuring business critical staff have the right tools should they need to work from home
- Working with the business community to assess and understand economic impact and potential strategies
- Responding to questions from the public and our staff, and re-directing to Vancouver Coastal Health as needed
The city also reminded the public of steps it can take to help stop the spread:
- Remain at home if you are feeling sick
- Wash your hands
- Cover your cough or sneeze
With coronavirus on the rise, BC public health officials are reminding individuals who attend events and large gatherings to monitor their health for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. And if you’re not feeling well, they recommend staying home at this time. Also, due to unexpected cancellations, please check the event you plan to attend is still taking place. Keep up with COVID-19 news here.